I followed the hype surrounding the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame this year primarily for two reasons. Firstly two (deserving) stalwarts Guns 'N' Roses and Red Hot Chilli Peppers were being inducted into the class of 2012. Secondly, to witness another year in which this foundation canonized mediocrity and closed the doors on some real Rock icons.
For the uninitiated - The foundation was started in 1983 by pioneers in the music industry. Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’s contributions to the development and perpetuation of Rock & Roll music.
The RRHOF has always gotten serious slack for it's methods and choices, and rightfully so. It's service and justice to the Rock community is often questioned and fiercely debated. Ironically, the RRHOF as an organization has for years earned for itself an "anti-rock" image. The foundation has been known to shy away from the "too loud for the ears" music which is a blemish on their so-called-open–mindedness. A look at those inducted and those snubbed tells a story in itself.
It is pure blasphemy that the giants of Rock music such as Deep Purple (anything more Rock than the Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Nuh riff?), Motorhead and Kiss are not a part of the prestigious RRHOF. Other biggies regularly snubbed by the RRHOF include Rush (14 platinum albums), Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Jethro Tull, Iron Maiden, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Journey (who have surely stopped believing in RRHOF) to name a few. Iconic bands like Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and Van Halen waited over 10 years to be inducted. These bands have filled stadiums, sold millions of copies and are the most recognizable faces in Rock history. Yet they somehow have still not managed to make the cut.
Astonishingly, Hip-Hop groups such as Run-DMC, Beastie Boys and Grandmaster Flash have been inducted. Pop diva Madonna and groups like Abba are also a part of RRHOF roster. Even LL Cool J was nominated recently. In no way is anyone questioning or debating their contributions to music or Pop culture, but in the context or Rock per se they did squat.
Isn’t the term "rockstar" used very loosely today? Gone are the days when guitar virtuosos, powerful vocalists and manic drummers commanded this term. It has sadly just become synonymous with "cool". Rockstars are cool, but don’t call your favorite movie star, politician or friend who plays three chords a Rockstar. Hendrix was a Rockstar. Arjun Rampal is definitely "not". Let us not be as delusional as the people at RRHOF are.
So finally - It’s high time the RRHOF gave credit where it is really due and started playing an active role in promoting upcoming Rock bands around the world. A little push from such an organization could really set the base for a band to make it big. The organization needs to justify that they are worthy of the "R" in RRHOF.
However, given their track record this seems like mammoth task. They should rather just change their name to Music Hall Of Fame. An ambiguous name would surely work well with their ambiguous ways, and clearly offend people to a much lesser degree.
I sometimes think it is probably befitting that the big names have not been included in the RRHOF. Imagine, Like A Virgin and Smoke On The Water being mentioned in the same breath. Travesty!
PS: A birdie told me that Kylie Minogue and Paula Abdul are eligible for the class of 2013. If only I could bet on whom the winners would be...!
Graduated from Delhi University, post that caught up in the corporate rat race for the last two years. Plays guitar and was active in the college scene, worships Slash and old G'n'R. Loves Classic Rock, Grunge and Metalcore. Spends a considerable part of the day listening to music and believes in the Indian Rock scene.
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